Q: Do you have to be Jewish to audition for Rhythm and Jews?
A: Definitely not! In fact, our unofficial motto is “Judaism optional, rhythm required.” and we have members of all religious backgrounds, ranging from being raised Jewish to having no prior exposure to Judaism before joining RnJ. We consider ourselves a secular group – almost all of our music is entirely secular, and we choose to focus more on pop/rock/humor than on liturgical pieces. We are just a bunch of people who love singing in Hebrew and learning about the music of other cultures, as well as eating delicious latkes and getting drunk on Manischewitz.
Q: When do auditions take place?
A: Auditions are held during the first week of fall quarter. We also occasionally hold winter auditions, though there are no details about these auditions available at this time.
Q: How do I sign up for an audition?
A: There is an a cappella showcase on the Monday of first week where all of the a cappella groups perform a couple of songs and tell a bit about themselves, and you can sign up for auditions during this time. Walk-in auditions are welcome as well.
Q: Do I have to have previous musical/singing experience?
A: Nope! We have taken singers with widely differing levels of experience, from those who have performed in choirs for many years to those who had only ever sung in the shower prior to RnJ. Some experience with music is helpful, but we’ll take anyone who is able to sing and is willing to work to improve their technique and musical knowledge. Being able to read music is great but not required.
Q: What does the audition process involve?
A: The audition process is fairly simple: we first do a couple of warm-ups to test your range, and then we test your ability to match pitch. Next is a short sight-reading exercise (don’t worry, it’s not mandatory that you can sight-read and your performance in this part of the audition can only help you, not hurt you!). Finally, the auditionee performs a short solo of his/her choosing.
Q: What song should I prepare for my audition?
A: Whatever song you believe suits your voice and best shows off your abilities! We’ve had auditionees perform musical theater numbers, pop/rock/folk solos, songs in foreign languages – there are no set rules! One auditionee performed Rebecca Black’s “Friday” a couple years ago… and got in! Confidence in yourself and your voice is the most important thing.
Q: What kind of a time commitment is RnJ?
A: RnJ is fairly low-commitment — we only rehearse five hours a week (four hours of rehearsal and a sectional). We also usually have a gig or performance once every few weeks, as well as quarterly concerts and a tour in the winter. We are very flexible about working around other commitments – most of our members are in other RSOs and performing groups as well as RnJ, and we do our best to take everyone’s schedule into consideration when planning rehearsals and performances.
Q: What happens after my audition?
A: You will hear from us very soon after your audition, thanking you for your time and possibly asking you to return for callbacks on Thursday or Friday of First week (October 4th or 5th). During callbacks (which usually last 2-3 hours) we will test how you blend and work in a group setting, and also get to know you a bit and introduce you to the group. You will hear from us regarding final decisions the following Saturday, and rehearsals start the following week!
Q: Do you sing any songs about llamas?
A: Sorry, we haven’t arranged any songs about llamas yet.